Sexual Objectification in Videogames: 30 Years Ago

Do you think that before Anita Sargsyan and her attacks on game developers there were nothing like this?

Well, you are seriously mistaken.

Back in the 80s, some people were against sexism in video games.
In October 1982, in the meeting room of a New York hotel “Hilton,” journalists and public gathered to look at the presentation of a new video game. And outside of the hotel there was 250 people – both men and women – which have gathered to protest against “such” games.


The game, which was shown at the hotel was Custer’s Revenge ( «General Custer’s Revenge”), the first game, which managed to get the highest age rating. In this game player supposed to play as General Custer, who decided to take revenge on the Indians. The gameplay was simple – to run through the levels and dodge the bullets. (And do not forget – all in 2D!) However, age-rating here is not due to blood or other shocking images. Simply, at the end of the levels, main “hero” (General Custer) had an opportunity to rape the Indian women. It looked like this:


“The objectification of women has penetrated even in such a relatively young genre of media, like video games.”
Christine Reilly, the member of “Women Against Pornography,” made such a statement, thirty years before Anita Sargsyan. However, the reason for that were games in which not only a sexual act, but even characters themselves were represented as a bunch of pixels. Therefore, sexual or any other objectification were supplemented in the heads of players. And yes – this topic also discussed in the gaming press of that time.

What has changed since then? Nothing, in general. The developers still releasing games with the presence of adult content ( examples: Mass Effect, The Witcher ), and all sorts of activists still claiming that women in games appear exclusively in the form of an objectified dummy. And it seems that this conflict will never end.


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